#4 Irish Fall to #25 Miami, 72-65, in Final Minutes

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The No. 4 Notre Dame women’s basketball team battled with No. 25 Miami in a game that featured 14 lead changes and six ties. The Irish (21-3, 8-2) cut a seven-point fourth quarter deficit to two points with 1:16 remaining but couldn’t edge past the Hurricanes (20-5, 8-2), suffering a 72-65 defeat.
“We lost the game because we couldn’t contain the ball,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “They beat us to the basket. It cost us the game, same as it did at North Carolina. We’ve got to find a way to figure out what we can do on defense.”
Jessica Shepard led the Irish with 17 points and 17 rebounds, her eighth double-double on the year. Marina Mabrey (14 points), Jackie Young (14 points) and Arike Ogunbowale (13 points) also finished in double figures.
How It Happened
Mabrey scored seven of the team’s first nine points to jumpstart the Irish offense. In addition, Notre Dame notched six of its first 15 points off of second-chance baskets. Both sides converted nine field goals in the period, which was ended by a buzzer-beating Mabrey three to tie the game at 22-all.
The second quarter was a defensive grind for both sides as Miami edged Notre Dame in scoring 14-12 to take a 36-34 halftime lead. The Irish were limited to 4-of-14 shooting in the period with three of the field goals occurring under the 3:30 mark. A pair of Jessica Shepard free throws gave the Irish a 34-33 advantage but then it was Miami’s turn to beat the buzzer, claiming its narrow two-point lead at the half.
In the third, Notre Dame countered by holding Miami to without a field goal from 9:47 to 5:11. In the majority of that span, the Irish produced a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead at 41-40. However, a pair of three-pointers from Miami’s Taylor Mason put the Hurricanes back on top, 48-42, at the 3:24 mark. The Irish battled back before the end of the quarter, cutting the deficit to 54-52 heading into the fourth.
Later down 65-58 with 2:35 left in the game, the Irish recorded back-to-back steals in which they converted into five points, cutting the deficit to a one-possession game with 1:16 remaining. Next, with the shot clock winding down, Miami’s Mason delivered a floater off the backboard, while on the ensuing possession, Ogunbowale’s three-point attempt didn’t hit the mark.
Mabrey connected on a pair of free throws to cut it to 69-65 with 19 seconds remaining, but Miami remained in front by staying sharp on the free-throw line to bring it to the 72-65 final.
Up Next
The Irish return home on Sunday, Feb. 10, to host the annual tradition known as Pink Zone. Notre Dame welcomes in No. 24 Florida State for a noon tip off on ESPN. The Irish encourage all fans to wear pink in honor of the breast cancer survivors in attendance.